MSNBC's Olbermann Conundrum

According to Politico, pundits and politicians (including Bill Kristol and Bernie Saunder of Vermont) from across the political spectrum are criticizing MSNBC’s decision to suspend Keith Olbermann for violating a clearly stated company policy requiring management approval of employee contributions to political candidates.  (The policy is restated by Politico - follow the link.)

On October 28, 2010, Olbermann donated $2,400 to the election campaigns of several Democratic progressives.

The problem for MSNBC President Phil Griffin is this: Olbermann has roundly criticized News Corps, the parent company of Fox News, for donations made to the Republican Governors Association and the notoriously far right U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

On October 23, just a few days before Olbermann’s donation, NY Times’ Brian Stelter detailed blatant on-air fundraising by conservative candidates on Fox News talk shows.  “Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC, and others strenuously object to the idea that Fox and MSNBC are opposite sides of the same coin. ‘Show me an example of us fund-raising,’ he said in a recent interview,” wrote Stelter.

Olbermann put his boss in an embarrsing position.

From Media Matters to Bill Kristol, many are arguing that Olbermann should not have been suspended because (paraphrasing), everyone else is doing it.  But that’s the “everyone is jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge, so we can to” defense.